iOS Is Shitting The Bed For Advertisers 👉 Time To Learn About Postback URLs / Server-to-Server Tracking
Here’s what you need to know:
Advertisers are feeling the impact as more devices adopt iOS 14 (and its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature that holds cookie data for a maximum of 7 days 😬).
If you’ve noticed wonky inconsistencies in your tracking, or otherwise inexplicable drops in performance, the ITP chickens could be coming home to roost.
As smart DTC marketers, we’re not just going to duck, cover, and wait to see what’s going to happen -- we’re going to do something about it.
So let’s start learning (or re-learning) server-to-server tracking and postback URLs.
What are pixels (aka client-side, cookie-based, browser-tracking), anyway?
Pixels are little snippets of code that ad networks give you to communicate with the cookies on your site.
The cookies hold a user’s session values, and when a conversion event happens, the pixel eats up that cookie, registering the conversion.
The pixel then tells the ad network, “hey, send us more people like this.”
Pretty cool, right? It is, buuutt, it’s susceptible to external factors (ahem, ITP) which can make it inaccurate and unreliable.
Enter Postback Tracking (aka server-to-server, server-side, server call)
Postback tracking is a way to track conversions using the advertiser’s server, and not the user’s browser. Postback URLs aren’t new, but they’re far less popular because they require a bit more tech-savvy.
In a nutshell, when someone clicks an ad, an ID is generated and included in the URL. That ID is carried from the advertising platform, to the landing page, to the conversion event. When a conversion is recorded, the ID fires a signal to the server, and it KEEPS FIRING until the server acknowledges it.
What’s cool about postback URLs is they’re more secure and reliable -- technically making them the better option (though less user-friendly).
Ultimately, learning how to better wield server-to-server tracking will improve your marketing.
Here are some resources to help you continue learning and get ahead of a cookie-less future:
- This video by AdSkills 👉 A great explanation of the differences between pixels and postback URLs from John Belcher
- Learn about Facebook’s Conversion API 👉 Go straight to the horse’s mouth about how to implement server-to-server tracking
- Measurement Marketing 👉 The ability to accurately measure all marketing is a most valuable skill. Measurement Marketing courses and weekly workshops will help you continuously improve